Some of the most notable things I read in anticipation of Monday’s 2021 budget statement came from a 23-year-old business studies graduate writing specifically for people between the ages of 16 and 29 in an online publication called the Sunday Market Network.
This is not at all to diminish the value of the “mature” regulars who appear almost every year with useful information and opinions.
The world some of us hope for includes the continued employment of such people. The veterans. They don’t come along every day, and as a public affairs presenter/writer over many years I have been among their numerous beneficiaries.
In T&T we also too often under-estimate the value of civic-minded professionals and public intellectuals who freely and openly help us understand our realities.
However, the point I am making today is that we need to create far more space for people of the young lady’s generation to breathe and grow as emerging professionals in the field of public affairs and to play a greater role in civic discourse.
True, they are not altogether ignored. Some media houses play a part in providing a credible, events-based platform for them.
There is another young professional who is an occasional newspaper columnist writing on business and financial matters whose boldness, candour and knowledge ought to impress us all.
I am also aware of scores of others in a great number of other fields—all in the 16-29 age group – who, in my view, ought to be more carefully listened to as our entire society moves onto uncharted social, cultural and economic terrain.
One small confession. Okay a few. The 23-year-old is my niece, Zandra Gomes and the bold-faced young economist is Kiran Mathur Mohammed whom I’ve known from birth (but with whom I have not quite kept in touch).
Some of the others I can refer to belong to the circle of creatives in and around my son Mikhail’s creative clan.
I tell them all the time they have my support if they choose to take over and change the world.
We, as the more mature and experienced don’t have to always agree with them. Kiran’s money-printing solution is in defiance of what the texts and the older heads would tell you. Yet, he researches and elaborately states his case.
Zandra sees a key, facilitative and supportive role for the state in helping to grow the private sector, contrasting starkly with those who may offer widened and deepened laissez-faire prescriptions.
Amilcar Sanatan proposes greater cultural autonomy as an economic function, and my nephew, Brandon Koo, prefers unbridled open market conditions.
Mikhail, a musician, writer and filmmaker, brings the eyes of the creative—bursting with limitless possibility, particularly as the digital era is now long upon us and never going away.
I am like a stuck record with my friends and family on this subject. The way we do business in all aspects of public life in T&T and the Caribbean is in a manner that belies the existence of these young people. Instead, we encounter the lie of a “failed generation” so very often.
I, for instance, did not always understand or agree with many things said by Nikolai Edwards (I have never met him) during the recent election campaign. But he belongs to Zandra’s cohort (he turns 29 next week) and should not go away. Stick around. Sharpen your perspectives. Listen more. Speak out, young fella.
Aviel Scanterbury is teaching pan online. He has arranged for Panorama. He has a Masters’ in Jazz. He is capable of much, much more musically, and as a civic-minded, disciplined citizen.
I had not planned on calling names. But sometimes we need to show that it’s true. There are young people out there, and not just a few, who should begin the process of taking over the place.
In numerous ways, my generation has failed to deliver a world that receives them well. There’s thus a revolution to be engaged. The young have my support. Go for it!